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Branches of WGA Spar Over Money

California

February 11, 2005|James Bates | Times Staff Writer

A bicoastal squabble over money has broken out between the union officials in Los Angeles and New York who represent film and TV writers.

Officials of the Writers Guild of America, West, say they are subsidizing the WGA, East, by more than $1 million. They say that they are owed more than $500,000 in dues and that they provide more than $500,000 in services to East Coast writers that are not reimbursed, including arbitration disputes over credits.

The WGA, West, claims 7,800 members; the WGA, East, lists 4,700.

In a message to members, Daniel Petrie Jr., president of the WGA, West, called the dispute "one of those unspoken, elephant-in-the-room sources of tension that stand in the way of a more functional relationship."

In a statement, the WGA, East, accused its L.A.-based brethren of a shakedown and of launching what could become "a drawn-out battle."

Petrie said officials in the East Coast faction were ignoring union rules that require that 50% of any movie writer's dues be forwarded to the Western office regardless of where they live. He also said rules were not being followed that require members who move to the West Coast to transfer their memberships and dues payments.

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